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Genus/Species

 

Deinagkistrodon acutus, Chinese copperhead

Clinical entries

Species

  • 1. Deinagkistrodon acutus

 

Formerly described as Agkistrodon acutus.

Taxonomy

Serpentes; Viperidae; Crotalinae

Common names

  • 1. Chinese copperhead, Hundred-pace viper, Chinesische Nasenotter

 

 


  Fig. 4.76 Head of Deinagkistrodon acutus with the characteristic "horn" on the tip of the snout.


Distribution

Southeast China, far north Vietnam, Taiwan. See link "Distribution" at the top of the page for detailed information.


  Map 60 Deinagkistrodon acutus.

Biology

Sturdy, short body, with clearly distinct, tapering head. Characteristic, distinctive, upturned "horn" on the tip of the snout. Appearance very similar to animals of the genus Agkistrodon.

Length up to more than 1.5 m. Basic colouring grey to brown, with striking, dark triangles along both sides of the spine. Live in forested, hilly or mountainous regions from 100 to 1,500 m above sea level. Particularly in rocky terrain, along the courses of streams. They can also be found close to farms, where they are known to enter animal stalls and human habitations.

In the cold zones of their distribution area, these snakes hibernate for several months. In the warmer areas, where temperatures do not go below 8°C the whole year, they do not hibernate. When in danger, they vibrate the tip of their tail, which, when it occurs in foliage, makes a warning rustling sound. Although described as sluggish, they are aggressive when threatened and are always ready to strike.

Risk

In China, Deinagkistrodon is considered the most dangerous crotalid snake, along with Gloydius blomhoffi brevicaudus. In some areas they are collected in large numbers for the production of medical remedies. Thus their victims are often snake catchers.

Literature (biological)

Gloyd and Conant 1989, Gumprecht et al. 2004, Zhao 1990